The glory of Florence is rooted in its past. The Medicis commanded the city's fortunes for centuries and, as patrons, they encouraged the Renaissance's influence on the city. Formidable galleries, treasure-crammed churches, sculptures, paintings and architecture attest to its artistic and cultural past. The Medicis also sponsored philosophers and artists such as Botticelli, da Vinci and Michelangelo. This compact city is an ideal choice for a school trip, especially for groups wanting to explore some of the great art treasures of the world.
Day Trip to Assisi
Known primarily as the birthplace of St. Francis (1182-1226 AD), the town has been a sacred place since long before the Fransiscan era. The Basilica of San Francesco, one of Italy's foremost monuments, was built between 1228 and 1253 AD
Day Trip to Lucca & Pisa
Lucca is the most wonderful small town; its famous walls enclose a place that can be wandered or pedalled with ease yet remains full of secrets. One of Italy's finest mediaeval treasures, the centre is relatively unspoilt and is sprinkled with palazzi, towers and almost countless splendid churches. The surrounding hills produce some excellent wines and arguably the finest olive oil anywhere, whilst the beaches and nightlife are but a small hop away.
Pisa is not only a city with an enormous quantity of art treasures, but also a city of very old cultural traditions. It is the homeland of Galileo; possessor of a flourishing University, among the oldest and most famous in the world; and is the location of numerous exhibitions and events of extraordinary importance such as the Musical Season, the great Historical Boat Race and candle-light festivities on the Arno. Not forgetting that the wonder of the leaning tower of Pisa is situated here.
Day Trip to San Gimignano & Siena
San Gimignano rises on a hill (334 m), dominating the Elsa valley with its towers. Seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (the 3rd and the 2nd century b.c.), its history started around the 10th century and the town takes its name from St. Gimignano, Bishop of Modena, who is said to have saved the village from hordes of barbarians
Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. The Piazza del Campo is also the home to the famous Palio.
Day Trip to Venice
Take a sightseeing tour around this fabulous city. Occupying 117 islands in the azure waters of the Adriatic, this lagoon city is a watery maze of grand canals, 177 smaller canals, over 400 bridges and the world's most famous sandbar, the Lido. Though thoroughly walkable, getting around Venice is a mesmerizing experience aboard the city's variety of public transport boats, the vaporetti or smaller (and more expensive) motoscafi
Day Trip to Volterra
The “magic and mysterious” city of Volterra has its roots in three thousand years of history. It is possible to find evidence and traces from every historical period, which gives the artistic city a unique aspect. Today the city conserves, above all a Medieval aspect not only for the 12th century city walls but also because of the urban layout with narrow streets, palaces, tower houses and churches. Volterra is also a city of museums. Other than the Etruscan Museum there is the Civic Art Gallery with a fine collection of works from the Sienese and Florentine Schools, among which is the Deposition from the Cross by Rosso Fiorentino. The Museum of Sacred Art has an important collection of reliquary, 14th century Sienese sculpture and miniatures.
Grotta del Vento
Situated in the centre of the Apuan Alps' Natural Park, this is one of the most complete European caves, presenting an extraordinary variety of phenomena which are outlined with competence and precision by expert speleological guides.
Following illuminated and easy-going trails, you can admire the many wonders of the underground world: from shining stalactites and stalagmites to polychrome flowstone, alabaster draperies, crystal-brimmed lakes, underground water-courses and bizarre forms of erosion
Guided Tour of Florence
A sightseeing tour of Florence on foot will offer the opportunity to see all its main attractions including the Piazza della Signoria, the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. An experienced guide will give information on the history of the city and will be able to answer any questions you have on the city and its buildings.
This gothic looking church was built in 1337. The extraordinary structure testifies to the historic evolution of the city, which once served as a granary in the gardens of the Sisters of San Michele during Florence's mercantile period